How Prince Charles reacted when Queen Mum told him the King had died -‘who drank the TEA?’
Prince Charles’s surprising reaction to the news his grandfather the King had died has been revealed in a newly uncovered diary.
The current heir to the throne was only three years old when King George VI died in 1952 and he was told the news by his grandmother, the Queen Mother.
She explained to the young prince that the King’s valet had discovered the monarch was dead when bringing in the morning tea.
The King, who took over from his brother Edward VIII after the latter abdicated in 1936, had died in his sleep aged just 56.
Later that morning Charles’s grandmother, the Queen Mother, took him aside and told him the upsetting news.
But the prince, then aged four, adorably responded: “Who drank the tea?”
The sweet reaction was uncovered in a diary entry of royal biographer Kenneth Rose published by the Daily Mail.
On April 11, 1964, the award winning historian and columnist wrote: “Pope-Hennessy tells me a story which came to him from the Queen Mother.
“When the King died in his sleep in 1952, she broke the news to little Prince Charles.
“She explained that when the valet had taken in the King’s tea that morning, he had found the King dead.
“Prince Charles listened gravely to the news, then enquired: ‘Who drank the tea?’”
King George VI, who was a heavy smoker, was beset by ill-health in the aftermath of the Second World War and developed lung cancer, arteriosclerosis and Buerger’s disease.
He was lucky not to lose his right leg in March 1949 and had to postpone tours of Australia and New Zealand as his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, took on more duties.
The 26-year-old princess was visiting Kenya on a stopover of the rearranged tour when she famously heard the news of her father’s death, making her Queen, while staying in a treehouse.
King George VI ruled for 16 years but had never expected the throne when it fell to his brother, Edward VIII, who was forced to abdicate after less than a year so he could marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Kenneth Rose, who died aged 89 in 2014, chronicled the lifestyles of royalty, nobility, senior politicians and the high society circles he moved in through a 40-year column in the Sunday Telegraph.
In his private diaries he recorded the most amusing and scandalous stories which couldn’t be printed at the time.
His comments offer an insight into the lives of the rich and famous and he often wrote intimately of the Queen Mother.
Mr Rose wrote how she “hates being asked to take a decision and will dig in her toes the more she is pressed”.
He recorded how she “spends many of her evenings watching television” and that the Royal family “do not think of themselves as ordinary people nor imagine why their private lives can possibly be of interest to the public”.
On April 8, 1963, he hilariously wrote that the Queen Mother hates hearing the national anthem on the TV.
He said: “At Kempton Park Races the Queen Mother was not pleased when a television was put on to see a football match.
“Then the TV started to play the national anthem.
“‘Oh do turn it off’ said the Queen Mother.
“‘It is so embarrassing unless one is there – like hearing the Lord’s Prayer when playing canasta.’”
Source: EXPRESS CO UK